Disabled Group Fights for Accessible Units

CBC news, Friday, November 19, 2010

An advocacy group for the disabled is frustrated by the fact that Charlottetown has no rules requiring developers to supply accessible units
in new apartment buildings.

The P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities said it has been lobbying for changes for 10 years.

Residents are frustrated as well. Shelley Stanley has been living for six years in what was supposed to be temporary housing.

Stanley said her heart disease and diabetes limit her mobility, so she lives at the Kay Reynolds Centre.

“I need a place with no stairs,” said Stanley. “I need a place when I’m in my chair, I can move around.”

James Poirier, a newer resident of the centre, says there is a lack of choice of places for him to live.

“I know it’s very difficult to find apartments,” said Poirier. “When I first moved here, I spent months and months trying to find a place.”

“They should have a law that they have to put in one or two [accessible units] or a certain percentage, but that’s not happening,” said Stanley.

Few barrier-free units

Marcia Carroll, executive director of the council, said she understands residents’ concerns.

“People now feel really strangled by the lack of housing,” said Carroll. “They have two or three buildings they can look at that have barrier-free
units. They really have no choice at all in terms of where they can live in their community.”

Summerside, meanwhile, requires one out of every 12 units be accessible.

Don Poole, the manager of Charlottetown’s planning department, said new rules are coming, perhaps by next spring .

“We haven’t decided what the ratio will be, what the percentage will be,” said Poole. “We’ve had discussions with the various organizations and are
still pursuing it.”

Carroll said that’s not good enough. “We would like to see it happen sooner rather than later,” she said.

The P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities said 230 units were built in Charlottetown last year and it’s unfortunate there are no laws requiring any
to be accessible.

Reproduced from http://www.cbc.ca/canada/prince-edward-island/story/2010/11/19/pei-group-frustrated-with-lack-of-accessible-units-584.html#ixzz15mk5fCTJ